New Transport Canada UAV Regulations Arrive!


Well, the moment we have all been waiting for in Canada is finally here.  Transport Canada has published the new UAV regulations.  It is important to understand that these regulations effectively come in 2 parts.  Basically, you have one set of regulations for UAV's less than 25kg and for simple operations.  Then another set for UAV's larger than 25kg and/or complicated operations.  Then, within those two groups, there are more groups.  For the first, it's broken down into <2kg class, and 2<>25kg class.

The rules allow quite free operation of <2kg UAV's.  In a nutshell, you have to not be stupid, and fly safely.  You can't be drunk.  Know how to fly.  Have a plan.  And remain at least 30m away from people and things not involved in the operation.

For UAV's less than 25kg, there are a few additional, reasonable additions.  You must have a fire extinguisher, and remain 150m away from people and things not involved.


The only question I have is, what does it mean for a building to "be involved in the operation"?  If I am taking photo/video of a building, does that mean it's involved?  I would assume so.  But, what about neighboring buildings?  Are they involved?  Because, it is uncommon to have solitary buildings 150m away from any other buildings. If this rule is rigidly applied, then it means you can pretty much only fly larger craft in remote areas.

Now, for UAV's over 25kg and/or operations not meeting these simple rules, there is a much more complicated document which applies:

I've skimmed through this, and it appears to be similarly reasonable.  There are various levels of permissions, etc.  too much to get into in detail here.

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  • Just pass your ground school for private pilots license, Rob... several places that do it, I did mine at Canadore collage when I was 16 :)

  • RHF:  Yes, that is one remaining question.  How/Where do we get that training?  I know there is a place in Montreal doing training, and I'll probably plan to attend.  I'll just have to bite my tongue when the instructor does the section basically explaining how these systems work...  :)

    George: I applied for $500k or $1M, can't remember.  I was advised that $100k is just too low, and I think that's true.  I was turned down basically for two reasons.  First, they seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the number of applications they've had.  I think they felt like they were expanding this business too fast and wanted to slow down. I even heard some had a moratorium on new applications. That's sort of a big problem.  The other reason, specifically for me, was because I was talking about doing development work on new systems.  They didn't want to insure that risk.  They felt that Joe Blow off the street with a Phantom was less risk than me.  I think that's pretty stupid.  To me, it demonstrates that they do not really understand the market or what the risks really are. 

    Marc: Yes, I noticed that after I published the Blog.  It's kind of a stinker isn't it?  It really kills the whole thing in my mind.  I think it has to be a mistake.  One of the goals of these rules is to reduce the workload of SFOC applications.  That most simple applications would not require an SFOC, allowing the TC inspectors to put more attention on the complicated ones.

    But this 9KM thing means that, pretty much anybody anywhere near civilization, still needs an SFOC.

    I have to think it's a mistake, because there's so many reasons it just doesn't make sense.

    • Why is it sort of buried in a footnote?  That should be at the very to of the decision tree, and the very top of the restrictions, in bold letters.
    • What is the definition of a built-up area?  Do they only mean... downtown Toronto?  Or is a town of 5000 considered a built-up area?  If the latter, then you'll only be able to fly freely if you are a ways up north.  Even for mining areas, etc. there's usually a town around somewhere.
    • I was about to say that you can fly up to 3km from an airport, but only 9km from a town, how does that make sense?  But now I see the 9km applies for airports too, under this "exemption".
    • However, hobbyists are still allowed to fly up to 3km from an airport. How does that make sense?!?  I can't fly a <2kg UAV with RTH capabilities at 5km from an airport.  But a hobbyist can fly a 30kg giant scale plane 3.1km from an airport?!?

  • So, since I have a regular pilots license, all I need is insurance, and keep under 25kg.... if I read this correctly?

  • "Ensure UAV does *not* have emergency locator transponder?



  • Did anyone notice the DO NOT section saying:

    "Do not fly closer than 9km from built-up areas"

    Ok, this leaves a lot of space in Canada :-)  But for many applications it means to ask for an SFOC, doesn´t it?

  • Rob,

    I notice, though, that $100 000+ in insurance coverage is required for any exemptions from SFOCs - even the sub-2 kg one.

    You mentioned recently you were turned down on both attempts to get insurance.

    May I ask (because I'm worried about this being a serious obstacle) - did the insurers give any indication of why they turned you down? Would you be willing to reveal the approximate amount of coverage you applied for (I'm wondering if that might be a factor - applying for an amount in the neighbourhood of the $100 000 minimum might just not interest them?)



  • The table looks quite straightforward, but FAQ #2 makes reference to training requirements for the 2-25 kg exemption.  I wonder what this will entail?

    Question 2:

    What training is required to fly a UAV under the exemptions?


    Each exemption contains different training requirements. For example, to fly a UAV that weighs between 2.1 kg and 25 kg UAV without permission, the operator must be trained to understand:

    • airspace classification and structure

    • weather and notice to airmen (NOTAM) reporting services

    • aeronautical charts and the Canada Flight Supplement

    • relevant sections of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.


  • BRB, moving to Canada.

    Bravo, well done, great work, I can't say enough. Sensible regulations that will put them leaps and bounds ahead of the US in UAS development. Very jealous.

  • Moderator

    Very very cool (often is there I know)

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